Communities minister Greg Clark says voluntary organisations will be welcome in local enterprise partnerships

Statement is a victory for the sector, says Navca leader Kevin Curley

Greg Clark, the minister for communities and decentralisation, has said the government would welcome the involvement of voluntary organisations in negotiations to establish new public-private partnerships aimed at boosting local economies.

Voluntary sector umbrella bodies had expressed disappointment that the sector was excluded when the government approached local authority leaders in July about the proposals for local enterprise partnerships to replace regional development agencies.

Following pressure from the sector, Clark has written to a member of local umbrella body Navca saying that the government would welcome the involvement of voluntary organisations and social enterprises in LEPs.

Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca, said: "This is a victory for the voluntary and community sector and a welcome and timely recognition of the economic impact of our sector.

"It also shows it is important for us to be prepared to tell the government when we think they have got things wrong."

A spokesman for the Communities and Local Government department said the government did not intend to leave the voluntary sector out of the initial negotiations, which at the time were at an early stage with local authorities.

"We want to move to a situation where everyone in the community is brought in but it will have a local authority lead," he said.

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